Publications by authors named "Romain Feron"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

RADSex: A computational workflow to study sex determination using restriction site-associated DNA sequencing data.

Mol Ecol Resour 2021 Jul 9;21(5):1715-1731. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Physiological Chemistry, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.

The study of sex determination and sex chromosome organization in nonmodel species has long been technically challenging, but new sequencing methodologies now enable precise and high-throughput identification of sex-specific genomic sequences. In particular, restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-Seq) is being extensively applied to explore sex determination systems in many plant and animal species. However, software specifically designed to search for and visualize sex-biased markers using RAD-Seq data is lacking. Here, we present RADSex, a computational analysis workflow designed to study the genetic basis of sex determination using RAD-Seq data. RADSex is simple to use, requires few computational resources, makes no prior assumptions about the type of sex-determination system or structure of the sex locus, and offers convenient visualization through a dedicated R package. To demonstrate the functionality of RADSex, we re-analysed a published data set of Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes, where we uncovered a previously unknown Y chromosome polymorphism. We then used RADSex to analyse new RAD-Seq data sets from 15 fish species spanning multiple taxonomic orders. We identified the sex determination system and sex-specific markers in six of these species, five of which had no known sex-markers prior to this study. We show that RADSex greatly facilitates the study of sex determination systems in nonmodel species thanks to its speed of analyses, low resource usage, ease of application and visualization options. Furthermore, our analysis of new data sets from 15 species provides new insights on sex determination in fish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13360DOI Listing
July 2021

The rise and fall of the ancient northern pike master sex-determining gene.

Elife 2021 Jan 28;10. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

INRAE, Sigenae, Genotoul Bioinfo, Toulouse, France.

The understanding of the evolution of variable sex determination mechanisms across taxa requires comparative studies among closely related species. Following the fate of a known master sex-determining gene, we traced the evolution of sex determination in an entire teleost order (Esociformes). We discovered that the northern pike () master sex-determining gene originated from a 65 to 90 million-year-old gene duplication event and that it remained sex linked on undifferentiated sex chromosomes for at least 56 million years in multiple species. We identified several independent species- or population-specific sex determination transitions, including a recent loss of a Y chromosome. These findings highlight the diversity of evolutionary fates of master sex-determining genes and the importance of population demographic history in sex determination studies. We hypothesize that occasional sex reversals and genetic bottlenecks provide a non-adaptive explanation for sex determination transitions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.62858DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7870143PMC
January 2021

Sex chromosome and sex locus characterization in goldfish, Carassius auratus (Linnaeus, 1758).

BMC Genomics 2020 Aug 11;21(1):552. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

INRAE, LPGP, 35000, Rennes, France.

Background: Goldfish is an important model for various areas of research, including neural development and behavior and a species of significant importance in aquaculture, especially as an ornamental species. It has a male heterogametic (XX/XY) sex determination system that relies on both genetic and environmental factors, with high temperatures being able to produce female-to-male sex reversal. Little, however, is currently known on the molecular basis of genetic sex determination in this important cyprinid model. Here we used sequencing approaches to better characterize sex determination and sex-chromosomes in an experimental strain of goldfish.

Results: Our results confirmed that sex determination in goldfish is a mix of environmental and genetic factors and that its sex determination system is male heterogametic (XX/XY). Using reduced representation (RAD-seq) and whole genome (pool-seq) approaches, we characterized sex-linked polymorphisms and developed male specific genetic markers. These male specific markers were used to distinguish sex-reversed XX neomales from XY males and to demonstrate that XX female-to-male sex reversal could even occur at a relatively low rearing temperature (18 °C), for which sex reversal has been previously shown to be close to zero. We also characterized a relatively large non-recombining region (~ 11.7 Mb) on goldfish linkage group 22 (LG22) that contained a high-density of male-biased genetic polymorphisms. This large LG22 region harbors 373 genes, including a single candidate as a potential master sex gene, i.e., the anti-Mullerian hormone gene (amh). However, no sex-linked polymorphisms were detected in the coding DNA sequence of the goldfish amh gene.

Conclusions: These results show that our goldfish strain has a relatively large sex locus on LG22, which is likely the Y chromosome of this experimental population. The presence of a few XX males even at low temperature also suggests that other environmental factors in addition to temperature could trigger female-to-male sex reversal. Finally, we also developed sex-linked genetic markers, which will be important tools for future research on sex determination in our experimental goldfish population. However, additional work would be needed to explore whether this sex locus is conserved in other populations of goldfish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-06959-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430817PMC
August 2020

The sterlet sturgeon genome sequence and the mechanisms of segmental rediploidization.

Nat Ecol Evol 2020 06 30;4(6):841-852. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Developmental Biochemistry, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany.

Sturgeons seem to be frozen in time. The archaic characteristics of this ancient fish lineage place it in a key phylogenetic position at the base of the ~30,000 modern teleost fish species. Moreover, sturgeons are notoriously polyploid, providing unique opportunities to investigate the evolution of polyploid genomes. We assembled a high-quality chromosome-level reference genome for the sterlet, Acipenser ruthenus. Our analysis revealed a very low protein evolution rate that is at least as slow as in other deep branches of the vertebrate tree, such as that of the coelacanth. We uncovered a whole-genome duplication that occurred in the Jurassic, early in the evolution of the entire sturgeon lineage. Following this polyploidization, the rediploidization of the genome included the loss of whole chromosomes in a segmental deduplication process. While known adaptive processes helped conserve a high degree of structural and functional tetraploidy over more than 180 million years, the reduction of redundancy of the polyploid genome seems to have been remarkably random.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1166-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269910PMC
June 2020

Characterization of a Y-specific duplication/insertion of the anti-Mullerian hormone type II receptor gene based on a chromosome-scale genome assembly of yellow perch, Perca flavescens.

Mol Ecol Resour 2020 Mar 27;20(2):531-543. Epub 2020 Jan 27.

INRAE, UR 1037 Fish Physiology and Genomics, Rennes, France.

Yellow perch, Perca flavescens, is an ecologically and economically important species native to a large portion of the northern United States and southern Canada and is also a promising candidate species for aquaculture. However, no yellow perch reference genome has been available to facilitate improvements in both fisheries and aquaculture management practices. By combining Oxford Nanopore Technologies long-reads, 10X Genomics Illumina short linked reads and a chromosome contact map produced with Hi-C, we generated a high-continuity chromosome-scale yellow perch genome assembly of 877.4 Mb. It contains, in agreement with the known diploid chromosome yellow perch count, 24 chromosome-size scaffolds covering 98.8% of the complete assembly (N50 = 37.4 Mb, L50 = 11). We also provide a first characterization of the yellow perch sex determination locus that contains a male-specific duplicate of the anti-Mullerian hormone type II receptor gene (amhr2by) inserted at the proximal end of the Y chromosome (chromosome 9). Using this sex-specific information, we developed a simple PCR genotyping assay which accurately differentiates XY genetic males (amhr2by ) from XX genetic females (amhr2by ). Our high-quality genome assembly is an important genomic resource for future studies on yellow perch ecology, toxicology, fisheries and aquaculture research. In addition, characterization of the amhr2by gene as a candidate sex-determining gene in yellow perch provides a new example of the recurrent implication of the transforming growth factor beta pathway in fish sex determination, and highlights gene duplication as an important genomic mechanism for the emergence of new master sex determination genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7050324PMC
March 2020

Evolutionary superscaffolding and chromosome anchoring to improve Anopheles genome assemblies.

BMC Biol 2020 01 2;18(1). Epub 2020 Jan 2.

The Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, USA.

Background: New sequencing technologies have lowered financial barriers to whole genome sequencing, but resulting assemblies are often fragmented and far from 'finished'. Updating multi-scaffold drafts to chromosome-level status can be achieved through experimental mapping or re-sequencing efforts. Avoiding the costs associated with such approaches, comparative genomic analysis of gene order conservation (synteny) to predict scaffold neighbours (adjacencies) offers a potentially useful complementary method for improving draft assemblies.

Results: We evaluated and employed 3 gene synteny-based methods applied to 21 Anopheles mosquito assemblies to produce consensus sets of scaffold adjacencies. For subsets of the assemblies, we integrated these with additional supporting data to confirm and complement the synteny-based adjacencies: 6 with physical mapping data that anchor scaffolds to chromosome locations, 13 with paired-end RNA sequencing (RNAseq) data, and 3 with new assemblies based on re-scaffolding or long-read data. Our combined analyses produced 20 new superscaffolded assemblies with improved contiguities: 7 for which assignments of non-anchored scaffolds to chromosome arms span more than 75% of the assemblies, and a further 7 with chromosome anchoring including an 88% anchored Anopheles arabiensis assembly and, respectively, 73% and 84% anchored assemblies with comprehensively updated cytogenetic photomaps for Anopheles funestus and Anopheles stephensi.

Conclusions: Experimental data from probe mapping, RNAseq, or long-read technologies, where available, all contribute to successful upgrading of draft assemblies. Our evaluations show that gene synteny-based computational methods represent a valuable alternative or complementary approach. Our improved Anopheles reference assemblies highlight the utility of applying comparative genomics approaches to improve community genomic resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12915-019-0728-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6939337PMC
January 2020

Independent Origin of XY and ZW Sex Determination Mechanisms in Mosquitofish Sister Species.

Genetics 2020 01 8;214(1):193-209. Epub 2019 Nov 8.

Physiological Chemistry, Biocenter, University of Wuerzburg, 97074, Germany

Fish are known for the outstanding variety of their sex determination mechanisms and sex chromosome systems. The western () and eastern mosquitofish () are sister species for which different sex determination mechanisms have been described: ZZ/ZW for and XX/XY for Here, we carried out restriction-site associated DNA (RAD-) and pool sequencing (Pool-seq) to characterize the sex chromosomes of both species. We found that the ZW chromosomes of females and the XY chromosomes of males correspond to different linkage groups, and thus evolved independently from separate autosomes. In interspecific hybrids, the Y chromosome is dominant over the W chromosome, and X is dominant over Z. In , we identified a candidate region for the Y-linked melanic pigmentation locus, a rare male phenotype that constitutes a potentially sexually antagonistic trait and is associated with other such characteristics, , large body size and aggressive behavior. We developed a SNP-based marker in the Y-linked allele of (), which was linked to melanism in all tested populations. This locus represents an example for a color locus that is located in close proximity to a putative sex determiner, and most likely substantially contributed to the evolution of the Y.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.119.302698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6944411PMC
January 2020

Identification of the master sex determining gene in Northern pike (Esox lucius) reveals restricted sex chromosome differentiation.

PLoS Genet 2019 08 22;15(8):e1008013. Epub 2019 Aug 22.

INRA, UR1037 LPGP, Campus de Beaulieu, Rennes, France.

Teleost fishes, thanks to their rapid evolution of sex determination mechanisms, provide remarkable opportunities to study the formation of sex chromosomes and the mechanisms driving the birth of new master sex determining (MSD) genes. However, the evolutionary interplay between the sex chromosomes and the MSD genes they harbor is rather unexplored. We characterized a male-specific duplicate of the anti-Müllerian hormone (amh) as the MSD gene in Northern Pike (Esox lucius), using genomic and expression evidence as well as by loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. Using RAD-Sequencing from a family panel, we identified Linkage Group (LG) 24 as the sex chromosome and positioned the sex locus in its sub-telomeric region. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this MSD originated from an ancient duplication of the autosomal amh gene, which was subsequently translocated to LG24. Using sex-specific pooled genome sequencing and a new male genome sequence assembled using Nanopore long reads, we also characterized the differentiation of the X and Y chromosomes, revealing a small male-specific insertion containing the MSD gene and a limited region with reduced recombination. Our study reveals an unexpectedly low level of differentiation between a pair of sex chromosomes harboring an old MSD gene in a wild teleost fish population, and highlights both the pivotal role of genes from the amh pathway in sex determination, as well as the importance of gene duplication as a mechanism driving the turnover of sex chromosomes in this clade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6726246PMC
August 2019

The genome of the arapaima (Arapaima gigas) provides insights into gigantism, fast growth and chromosomal sex determination system.

Sci Rep 2019 03 28;9(1):5293. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

University of Wuerzburg, Physiological Chemistry, Biocenter, 97074, Wuerzburg, Germany.

We have sequenced the genome of the largest freshwater fish species of the world, the arapaima. Analysis of gene family dynamics and signatures of positive selection identified genes involved in the specific adaptations and unique features of this iconic species, in particular it's large size and fast growth. Genome sequences from both sexes combined with RAD-tag analyses from other males and females led to the isolation of male-specific scaffolds and supports an XY sex determination system in arapaima. Whole transcriptome sequencing showed that the product of the gland-like secretory organ on the head surface of males and females may not only provide nutritional fluid for sex-unbiased parental care, but that the organ itself has a more specific function in males, which engage more in parental care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41457-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6439221PMC
March 2019

The Evolution of Mutual Mate Choice under Direct Benefits.

Am Nat 2016 11 22;188(5):521-538. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

In nature, the intensity of mate choice (i.e., choosiness) is highly variable within and between sexes. Despite growing empirical evidence of male and/or mutual mate choice, theoretical investigations of the joint evolution of female and male choosiness are few. In addition, previous approaches have often assumed an absence of trade-off between the direct benefits per mating and the lower mating rate that results from being choosy. Here we model the joint evolution of female and male choosiness when it is solely ruled by this fundamental trade-off. We show that this trade-off can generate a diversity of stable combinations of choosiness. Mutual mate choice can evolve only if both females and males exhibit long latency after mating. Furthermore, we show that an increase in choosiness in one sex does not necessarily prevent the evolution of mutual mate choice; the outcome depends on details shaping the trade-off: the life history, the decision rule for mate choice, and how the fecundity of a pair is shaped by the quality of both individuals. Last, we discuss the power of the sensitivity of the relative searching time (i.e., of the proportion of a lifetime spent searching for mates) as a predictor of the joint evolution of choosiness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/688658DOI Listing
November 2016

Social learning and the replication process: an experimental investigation.

Proc Biol Sci 2015 Jun;282(1808):20150719

CNRS, Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution (UMR 5554), Université de Montpellier, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, Montpellier cedex 05 34095, France.

Human cultural traits typically result from a gradual process that has been described as analogous to biological evolution. This observation has led pioneering scholars to draw inspiration from population genetics to develop a rigorous and successful theoretical framework of cultural evolution. Social learning, the mechanism allowing information to be transmitted between individuals, has thus been described as a simple replication mechanism. Although useful, the extent to which this idealization appropriately describes the actual social learning events has not been carefully assessed. Here, we used a specifically developed computer task to evaluate (i) the extent to which social learning leads to the replication of an observed behaviour and (ii) the consequences it has for fitness landscape exploration. Our results show that social learning does not lead to a dichotomous choice between disregarding and replicating social information. Rather, it appeared that individuals combine and transform information coming from multiple sources to produce new solutions. As a consequence, landscape exploration was promoted by the use of social information. These results invite us to rethink the way social learning is commonly modelled and could question the validity of predictions coming from models considering this process as replicative.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.0719DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455816PMC
June 2015